Smith Is Pretty Good

This is a request for public assistance: If there is a better blocking offensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference than Alabama's true freshman Andre Smith, please e-mail me at with the player's name and team information so I can watch the young man play before the end of the season.

Some preseason All-SEC honorees might be ones to watch, as is Alabama's center Antoine Caldwell. No one moves in open space quite like Smith at left tackle. And if any other lineman should win the Jacobs Trophy for the league's best blocker he should step forward.

Smith's block on a Louisana-Monroe defensive back on the touchdown play to receiver D.J. Hall was offensive lineman Nirvana. He led and Hall followed, and Smith eventually got his hands on a ULM defensive back and never let go, taking him most of the way down the field, until Hall passed.

"First of all, I kind of smile," Hall said of seeing Andre out in front of him on the play. "But second of all, I feel bad for the defensive back. You've got a guy Andre's size on a little guy like that defensive back was, it's got to be intimidating."

Smith did nearly the same thing last week, getting a paw on a Vanderbilt defender and toppling him end over end such that Keith Brown actually tripped over the defender during the fallout from the block and only gained eight yards. It was eyebrow raising when Andre said afterwards that he really didn't get the guy like he wanted to.

None of the writers in Alabama's post game media room I asked got the number of the man Andre manhandled downfield Saturday night because Andre's 330-plus pound frame was all that was in view (of course you might say that speaks as much about the writers as it does the quality of the block.)

"Big guys in space aren't always good," Offensive Line Coach Bob Connelly said. "The thing he did very well is he never stuttered, he never slowed down and never hesitated, and he gave D.J. a good read early and obviously opened up a lane for D.J. to get into the end zone."

Crimson Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said that there are "not many" who move like Andre. "For a big guy that weighs what he weighs, he's very athletic," Shula said, "and we kind of want to use that as much as we can. We've pulled him on some other things more than we have in the past few years."

Smith said the opportunity to move around and pull in open space "is just great. It's just like in high school. I like to pull. I'm just going to continue to work hard. Coach Shula and Coach Rader decide the plays we're going to do. We're just going to continue to work hard."

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